Reducing the Harms of Marijuana Prohibition

Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. These arrests fall disproportionately on blacks and Latinos, even though white people use marijuana at similar rates.
 
Many of those who are arrested are saddled with a criminal conviction that can make it difficult or impossible to vote, obtain educational loans, get a job, secure housing, or even adopt a child.
 
 
Additionally, the huge number of marijuana arrests each year usurps scarce law enforcement, criminal justice, and treatment resources at enormous cost to U.S. taxpayers.
 
The Drug Policy Alliance works to reduce the number of marijuana related arrests and associated penalties through crafting and advocating for legislation removing or reducing criminal penalties, initiatives making marijuana arrests the lowest law enforcement priority, and community based policy changes.  
 
DPA also works to expose and reduce rampant, system-wide racial disparities in marijuana arrests. DPA has released reports documenting and detailing chilling disparities in New York City and across California and continues to raise awareness about the unique burden U.S. marijuana policy places on black and Latino communities.
 
Marijuana prohibition has also caused incalculable violence and destruction by fostering an illegal marijuana market. Organized crime, drug cartels, and gangs are the greatest financial beneficiaries of marijuana prohibition. In Mexico, illegal marijuana sales have contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

Homeland Security Chief: Marijuana Possession is Grounds for Deportation

General Kelly Echoes Trump Commitment to Escalating the Drug War

DPA: War on Drugs is a War on Immigrants

In a speech yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced that the Trump Administration would use marijuana possession as a reason for deporting immigrants. “ICE will continue to use marijuana possession, distribution and convictions as essential elements as they build their deportation removal apprehension packages for targeted operations against illegal aliens living in the United States,” he said.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Jerónimo Saldaña 917-410-1270

Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance Fails in Atlanta City Council

Residents Show Up in Full Force to Show Support Decriminalization, Remind Council of Their Obligation to its Citizens

Yesterday the Atlanta City Council failed to pass Ordinance 17-O-1152, which would have decriminalized marijuana in the city. After hearing from many Atlanta residents the ordinance was referred to the Public Safety Committee for a further review in a 10-4 vote.

Contact:

Michelle Wright 202-854-9424
Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Israeli Cabinet Approves Proposal to Decriminalize Marijuana

Proposal Far from Perfect – Includes Big Fines and Does Not Expunge Criminal Records or Eliminate Criminal Charges

DPA’s Ethan Nadelmann Says Proposal a Good Symbolic Step Forward, But “The Devil Is In The Details”

On Sunday, Israel took a big step toward decriminalizing adult marijuana use. The Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal that would replace criminal penalties with fines for people who are caught using marijuana in public.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Hannah Hetzer 212-613-8060

New Mexico State Senate Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill By Wide, Bi-Partisan Margin

SB258 Reduces Penalties for Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia

Santa Fe, NM – This afternoon, the New Mexico’s State Senate voted (33-9) to pass Senate Bill 258, sponsored by Senator Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, reducing penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The final vote was bi-partisan with eight Republicans voting in support (Baca, Brandt, Ingle, Moores, Neville, Pirtle, Rue, and Woods). The bill was amended on the floor to reduce the amount that would be decriminalized from 1 ounce to ½ ounce.

Contact:

Emily Kaltenbach (505) 920-5256
Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Advocates Push Crucial Legislation to Seal Past Marijuana Possession Convictions

Sealing Records for Low-Level Marijuana Offenses Could Help Prevent Deportations in Trump America

Albany—Today, advocates and legislators held a press conference in Albany to demand reprieve for the harm that has been caused by arrests for low-level marijuana possession and mobilize for legislative solutions to keep New York families together. New York’s marijuana arrest crusade began more than 20 years ago. Since then, police departments across the state have arrested more than 800,000 New Yorkers for low-level marijuana possession offenses.

Contact:

Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Chris Alexander (646) 701-2256

Albany Press Conference: Advocates and Legislators Push Crucial Legislation to Seal Past Marijuana Possession Convictions

Sealing Records for Low-Level Marijuana Offenses Could Help Prevent Deportations in Trump America

New York’s marijuana arrest crusade began more than 20 years ago. Since then, police departments across the state have arrested more than 800,000 New Yorkers for low-level marijuana possession offenses. In 2016, more than 22,000 New Yorkers were arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana – 80% of whom were black or Latino. What’s worse, many of these arrests were the product of an unconstitutional stop.

Contact:

Chris Alexander, (646) 701-2256, calexander@drugpolicy.org
Tony Newman, (646) 335-5384, tnewman@drugpolicy.org

White House Indicates Potential Crackdown on Recreational Marijuana

Sean Spicer: Trump’s DOJ Will Push for “Greater Enforcement” of Federal Law in Recreational Marijuana States

Administration Suggests They Will Not Crack Down on Medical Marijuana States

In a press conference today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer strongly indicated that Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice (DOJ) will crack down on recreational marijuana programs. When asked about whether the federal government will take action in states that have legalized marijuana, Spicer replied, “I do think you’ll see greater enforcement. The Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into [the issue]. I believe they are going to continue to enforce the laws on the books with respect to recreational marijuana.”

Contact:

Tommy McDonald, 510-679-2311

New York State Assembly Passes Landmark Legislation to Seal Past Marijuana Possession Convictions

Bill is First Step Toward Comprehensive Plan to Redress Harms of the War on Drugs in Communities of Color

Sealing Records for Low-Level Marijuana Offenses Could Help Prevent Deportations in Trump America

Advocates Urge Governor to Fully Decriminalize Personal Marijuana Possession, Seal Records, and Pardon People Who Have Been Falsely Arrested

Albany — Yesterday, the New York State Assembly voted in support of A.2142, a bill that will seal the criminal records of people who have been unjustly and unconstitutionally arrested for simple possession of marijuana in public view. The vote was 95 in favor and 38 opposed. Over the last 20 years, more than 800,000 New Yorkers have been arrested for simple possession of marijuana. Those convicted face significant barriers to accessing education, employment, housing opportunities, and other state services.

Contact:

Tony Newman (646) 335-5384
Kassandra Frederique (646) 209-0374

Marijuana Wins Big on Election Night

California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada Legalize Marijuana, As Florida, Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota Approve Medical Marijuana Measures
 
TELECONFERENCE Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12:30pm (ET) / 9:30am (PT): What Do Election Results Mean for Marijuana Law Reform?

This Election Day was a watershed moment for the movement to end marijuana prohibition, with the results expected to accelerate efforts to legalize marijuana in states across the U.S., at the federal level, and internationally.  Overall, legalization initiatives prevailed in four out of five states, and medical marijuana initiatives prevailed in all four states this year.

CONTACT:

Tommy McDonald, 510-338-8827, tmcdonald@drugpolicy.org
Tony Newman, 646-335-5384, tnewman@drugpolicy.org

Election 2016: Marijuana Law Reform Takes Center Stage

California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana, While Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana Vote on Medical Marijuana

Election Shaping Up as Watershed Moment for Movement to End Federal Prohibition

This Election Day is shaping up to be a watershed moment for efforts to end marijuana prohibition, with five states voting on marijuana legalization and four more on medical marijuana. The results are expected to have major ramifications for marijuana law reform in states across the U.S., at the federal level, and even internationally.

Contact:

Tommy McDonald, 510-338-8827
Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

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